Take the Stress Out of Holiday Shopping with These 5 Tips

It’s the most wonderful time of the year–or at least it’s supposed to be. With all the other things going on during the holiday season (work potlucks! choir concerts! family drama!) shopping for gifts during the holiday season can feel more like a stress-fest than anything close to jolly. If the end-of-the-year shuffle has taken the jingle out of your bells, we’ve put together a couple of tips to help make finding gifts for your loved ones the most relaxed part of your festivities.

1. Get a Head Start

If you put off searching for gifts until a week (or less…) before the big day, then you’re in for a bit of a panic. Give yourself enough time to really search for the right gift for everyone. Many people begin the gift-getting season on Black Friday, but why not start even earlier? Keep your eyes peeled when you’re out and about throughout November in case a great gift option pops up where you least expect it.

2. Make a List…and Check it Twice!

Just like when you’re shopping for groceries, things will go a lot more smoothly if you make a list of all the gifts you want to give to each person on your list. Having a list and sticking to it means that you won’t be doing a mad dash, trying to guess what exactly your nieces or office Secret Santa would like best. Plus, knowing exactly what you’re going to get makes budgeting a lot easier, eliminating any surprises at the register.

Traditionalists will recommend writing out your list–something about taking the time to transcribe everything by hand feels more official and helps you remember your tasks. However, if you’re looking for some 21st-century convenience, apps like Evernote can be used across multiple devices and let you organize things like photos and web links for a streamlined experience.

3. Get Exactly What They Want

Part of the stress of holiday shopping is not being sure exactly what to get for each person on your list. If nothing springs to mind immediately while you’re making your list, consider doing a little research. Check out their social media profiles and Pinterest boards and see if they’ve been posting about something that might make a good gift. Is your BFF’s Instagram full of photos of masterful homemade baked goods? Perhaps they’d like a candle that recreates the smell of sugar cookies straight out of the oven.

You can always call them to chat or have them over for coffee and casually broach the topic of the holidays. An impromptu catch-up with loved ones is what the holidays are all about! If you’re feeling bold, you could even ask them outright if there’s anything they’re wishing for this season.

All that sleuthing not really your style? Check out some gift guides in a category that they’re interested in (Gifts for Dads, Great Hostess Goodies, Luxury Lovers). This could be the key to finding that perfect gift that’ll really put a smile on their face.

4. Have Gifts Delivered to Your Door

Skip the crowded malls and big box stores this year and do your holiday shopping online! You can easily knock out your entire list in an afternoon, all from the comfort of your couch. You can’t beat the convenience of having your shopping delivered right to you, especially in these busy winter months. Plus, lots of places (Smallflower included!) have free shipping options this time of year, so it doesn’t even have to cost extra. Just make sure that you order with plenty of time for your packages to arrive!

5. Don’t Forget About the Me Time

The holiday season is all about giving, so don’t forget to give yourself a little love. If you find yourself majorly stressed about a long to-do list, make sure to carve out some time to truly kick back, relax, and pamper yourself. You’ll be able to focus all the better on the tasks at hand if you take a little time to make sure your needs are met.

If you’re really crunched for time, don’t worry! Relaxing is all about the quality, not the quantity. If all you can spare is five minutes to enjoy your favorite coffee or tea before heading out into the cold to do some shopping, make sure that you relish every second. Turn off your phone, close your eyes, and savor each drop of that scrumptious hot beverage–you’ve earned it!